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Archive for September, 2010

Brain Dead

I spent my afternoon yesterday being questioned by a defense attorney whose one purpose seemed to be to make my life miserable. Fortunately, I wasn’t chosen for the jury and didn’t have to listen to him again today. I can’t believe how exhausted I was. The subject of the trial was difficult for me … the defendant had my same name as well. Every time they said her name I was reminded … that really could be me sitting there. I was drained beyond just physical exhaustion.

Today I had a “hangover” from all that stress. I was teaching my students and told them to turn to page 19 in their book. I proceeded to teach from page 20. They always look somewhat confused, but this was beyond the norm. I think I said a few times, “Come on guys, stay with me.” Finally, I saw a girl turning the page. I was about to tell her to stay on the page with us when she ever so quietly said, “That’s not what our book says.” I could not believe what I had done. It was hilarious … but frustrated me because I was so tired.

Later, with the same students,  I was supposed to write “the play was not very good” and I wrote “the play was not very bad”. My assistant had to correct me on that one.

Another group of children, later in the day, just could not get the concept I was trying to teach. They kept asking questions that I had just answered. I was losing it. I even told them, “You guys are testing my patience”. ( I said it nicely … really. I was too tired to raise my voice.) As we proceeded to check the assignment I realized I had gotten the first problem wrong, and had made them change it on their sheets. If I hadn’t caught the mistake myself I never would have believed I had done that.

Finally, I was trying to explain to them what “grace” is. The sentence said, “My cat moves with grace.” When asked what grace meant (and I’m not kidding or exaggerating) the answers were things like, “it has a tail”, “it gots legs”, “it it it it h-h-h has a pink nose”, “my cat has a donkey tail”. This is where I stopped the conversation. I began to explain “grace” using ballet dancing and break dancing as my examples. Ballet is graceful … break dancing is not. One is fast and jumpy … the other is more slow and smooth. They looked lost. Children who just said grace means “it gots legs” were confused by MY explanation? Really?

I finally realized the confusion was my 1990 term “break dancing”. I had no idea that wasn’t what is was called these days. Once they told me it was Hip Hop and pointed out my ignorance … no one … not even me … cared what “grace” meant. Who cares about a stupid cat that walks with grace? Sheesh! My cat has a donkey tail for crying out loud.